June 18, 2009

Nostalgia

"Time machines do exist,
in the form of music.
So easily a song can take you to a time in your past, and make you feel like you're there again."

http://theerikho.blogspot.com/2009/06/unwanted-trip.html
I tried to come up with what made me nostalgic. What triggered feelings both unwanted, and warranted. I tried to live things, the way my body intended to remember them forever.


Whenever I look at a fixed gear bicycle-I suddenly remember the past five months. Struggling with parts, learning and crashing. Falling and then picking myself up again. Nowadays, I ride and could have no other care than going from place to place.

When I drink out of my Sigg bottle-I can't help but remember my birthday, but also where this bottle's been. If it could tell a story, I'd write it here.

Whenever I listen to Abba-I cry a little inside

When the smell of pink grapefruit hovers over a certain stuffed moose-I can only think of warm summer nights, and chlorine packed days

When I browse my CD collection-I can suddenly remember my awkwardness in high school

When I watch hockey-I suddenly feel lonely, but I still force myself to watch the game until the end.

Wherever there's a squelchd magazine-I think of welcome week of freshman year

Whenever I paint-the world's weight lifts itself from my bare shoulders

When a friend hugs me-I think of everything we've been through

When I play my clarinet-I can only start to remember the tales and journeys it has been on

Try it yourself. Find what things remind you of more things. Stimulate your senses and take a trip, both good and bad, and just write, remember and keep your chin up.

15:23:42: There'll be Some Changes Made

They say don't change the old for the new
But I've found out that this will never do
When you grow old don't last long
You're here today and then tomorrow you're gone
I loved a man for many years gone by
I thought his love for me would never die
He made some changes that would never do
From now on I'm going to make some changes too
For there's a change in the weather
There's a change in the sea
So from now on there'll be in change in me
My walk will be different, my talk and my name
Nothin' about me is going to be the same
I'm goin' to change my wayof livin'
If that ain't enough
Then I'll change the way that I strut my stuff
[ Find more Lyrics on www.mp3lyrics.org/cPc ]
'Cause nobody wants you when you're old and gray
There'll be some changes made today
There'll be some changes made

The say the old time things are the best
That may be very good for all the rest
But I'm goin'g let the old things be
'Cause they are certainly not suited for me
There was a time when I thought that way
That's why I'm all alone here today
Since every one these days seeks something new
From now on I'm goin' to seek some new things too
For there's a change in the fashion
Ask the femine folks
Even Jack Benny has changed jokes
I must make some changes from old to new
I must do things just the same as others do
I'm goin' to change my long, tall
daddy for a little short fat
Goin' to change the number where I live at
I must have some lovin' or I'll fade away
There'll be some changes made today
There'll be some changes made today

June 17, 2009

On the Origin of Love


I've never considered the issues, the relations, and the sorts of things that constitute love. To me, I'm still ignorant to many of the whines and calls that come from the other side of the room, but not to say I ignore them completely. These past three days, we've discussed the issue of gender and the role of society in the definition. As our class explored the world of Tintomara or Lazuli or a bevy of other names, we as a class, began to understand the problems with the definitions and guidelines that society has laid out.

Since the beginning, the world has always been a bureaucracy and shall remain so until the day it explodes into a million tiny pieces. Human kind has always checked the box indicating M or F, or writing that bold, brazen capital letter F or letter M. But what then, does it mean to those who are neither? Of both sexes? Or even of a sex not listed, being completely neutral in a sense. Do you check both boxes? Or do you check none and scrawl some strange symbol, portmaneaued from some other sex symbols? Can the problem be any clearer nowadays?

In the beginning, when the world was created, humans were whole, animals were different and in time, they began to grow ignorant to the gods and in turn, the legs were cut from the whale, and the dinosaurs cut into lizards. But most of all, Humans had two faces, to bodies, four legs and were joined as one. Half to a half. But we were split into individuals for our sins, for our insolence. These "whole" bodies were not created as male/females, but male/male, and female/female, and whatever/whatever else. As we split apart, we became jumbled, mixed and no longer held definition.

The lyrics from this youtube clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YO9FpWX57E
I encourage you to watch.

When the earth was still flat,
And the clouds made of fire,
And mountains stretched up to the sky,
Sometimes higher,
Folks roamed the earth
Like big rolling kegs.
They had two sets of arms.
They had two sets of legs.
They had two faces peering
Out of one giant head
So they could watch all around them
As they talked; while they read.
And they never knew nothing of love.
It was before the origin of love.

The origin of love

And there were three sexes then,
One that looked like two men
Glued up back to back,
Called the children of the sun.
And similar in shape and girth
Were the children of the earth.
They looked like two girls
Rolled up in one.
And the children of the moon
Were like a fork shoved on a spoon.
They were part sun, part earth
Part daughter, part son.

The origin of love

Now the gods grew quite scared
Of our strength and defiance
And Thor said,
"I'm gonna kill them all
With my hammer,
Like I killed the giants."
And Zeus said, "No,
You better let me
Use my lightening, like scissors,
Like I cut the legs off the whales
And dinosaurs into lizards."
Then he grabbed up some bolts
And he let out a laugh,
Said, "I'll split them right down the middle.
Gonna cut them right up in half."
And then storm clouds gathered above
Into great balls of fire

And then fire shot down
From the sky in bolts
Like shining blades
Of a knife.
And it ripped
Right through the flesh
Of the children of the sun
And the moon
And the earth.
And some Indian god
Sewed the wound up into a hole,
Pulled it round to our belly
To remind us of the price we pay.
And Osiris and the gods of the Nile
Gathered up a big storm
To blow a hurricane,
To scatter us away,
In a flood of wind and rain,
And a sea of tidal waves,
To wash us all away,
And if we don't behave
They'll cut us down again
And we'll be hopping round on one foot
And looking through one eye.

Last time I saw you
We had just split in two.
You were looking at me.
I was looking at you.
You had a way so familiar,
But I could not recognize,
Cause you had blood on your face;
I had blood in my eyes.
But I could swear by your expression
That the pain down in your soul
Was the same as the one down in mine.
That's the pain,
Cuts a straight line
Down through the heart;
We called it love.
So we wrapped our arms around each other,
Trying to shove ourselves back together.
We were making love,
Making love.
It was a cold dark evening,
Such a long time ago,
When by the mighty hand of Jove,
It was the sad story
How we became
Lonely two-legged creatures,
It's the story of
The origin of love.
That's the origin of love.

From this, we come to the Swedish text by Carl Jonas Love Almqvist, concerning the multiple triangles of desire between Adolfine, Amanda, Ferdinand, Clas Henrik and Tintomara, the androgyne. All four of these characters seek out the last person, Tomara, who to all of these advances, remains ignorant. She remains so ignorant, that when confronted with the notion of taking the queen's tiara, she does, only too willingly, for her own mother and cannot grasp the concept of stealing, crime or even love. The character itself is criticized for being incapable of love, except for one instance to her mother. But rather, produce a self love, in that she has taken all that she fancies without considering the due consequences or the reprecussions of her actions.

Why do people get married? From the lyrics of the Origin of Love, do we seek to create that whole again? Do we really hope to make ourselves capable of being one and part of another? If you saw the clip towards the end, it showed three of these "bodies" m/m f/m f/f. Witholding the ideas presented by what people think is right, can it be said, that people, persons, were seperated from a great basin, and set upon the earth to find the other half of their body? But not drawing completely from the same bin, society has forced us to pick persons alone based on sex and gender rather than who they truly love.

The four characters Adolfine, Amanda, Ferdinand, and Clas Henrik all fall in love with this one person, but why? The whole story revolves around the double jealousy, with deceit and traits overflowing one another. Are they possibly jealous of the fact that Tintomara is a whole, complete person. The fact that through her ignorance, she need not find her other half, her other lover. But these others, seperated from their other half, not knowing whether or not their other half could have been male or female, all just leads stems to branches and branches to roots. Are we as humans, capable of erasing society's bounds, bounds created by religion, laws, social encoungers, and education? Can we really be whole again? Trying to search for our other half, in a world that imposes a barrier in the way. Can we really remain innocent? Innocence leads to ignorance and ignorance is bliss. Hear my way and my way only. Your way is wrong and everything needs to be done by A, B, and C.

Two things in this world are white, innocence and arsenic. You have the innocence and I have the arsenic.

June 07, 2009

To be a Man

Webster's dictionary defines "Man" as: one possessing in high degree the qualities considered distinctive of manhood. Or: the quality or state of being manly. But what does that mean? Being a man has become diluted within the past twenty years and the two sexes have blended with each other to the extent that one can almost hardly tell the difference between the two. At Baker beach today, I was walking along with my father when we passed by a couple, typically in the emo style. But for a quick brief second, I could not tell who was the man in the relationship. Then it struck me, the one wearing pants and no top.

Unless I dare look at a flat chested female with an extraordinary liberty.

But staring at this grotesque person, his hair braided against the side of his head, and the rest tinted with blue and grown and tended to appear like a potted fern plant. I scoffed silently, not to show any desire at this male carbon unit that I was throwing up in my head.

But that brought up the ideas and the issue of what it means to be manly. Does it mean, when you wake up in the morning, you swallow three raw eggs and do a hundred push-ups with one arm behind your back? Does it mean wearing a perfectly tailored suit and appearing at work every morning promptly at 9am? Or how about being an all round good chum? We really love exaggeration, and that unfortunately has strapped binoculars permanently to our faces and we can't change that without allowing time and the natural process. The media, the art, the way we judge has afflicted us to imagine every "man" to be 12 feet tall, and chopping down trees for a living, wearing flannel and growing a beard. But nothing more than just an image.

I'm going to discuss some qualities every Man should possess and ones that men strive to possess but should not. We love to go for things that are unnecessary and for those of you reading who love the feminine aspects of being a man, stop reading here and do something else, or open your mind and see my side of the argument for now. You can fight and contest me later.

Things you ought to have

1. Character
Can you imagine, what sort of bull i'm talking about when it comes to character? I dont mean playing a role that you want to play like being an Egyptian tobacconist or a French peasant. Playing a part is different from doing the part that creates these qualities that we want. When I speak character, I think of good judgement, good personality, and above all a sense of duty and the difference between right and wrong. But surely, every man must make a mistake somewhere and they do, and no one holds it against them but considers it a lesson to be learned from. The ability to pick oneself up and dust themselves off and look at them and go, ok, I'm not doing that again in that fashion. He doesn't quit, but he doesn't forget lessons of the past. There are some things that my friends do that I cant say are the best things to do, but I cant hold them to do it or not to do it, but I encourage them to consider the results and to show good judgement and duty myself, to try to snub a dirty habit. But the effort shown, goes quite a long way.

2. Grooming
What is that look that is so popular with young men these days? It's more common to see a guy not visit a barber for months at a stretch and like wise to visit a razor. In all honesty, the look where you've rolled straight out of bed in pajamas and into class in the exact same things is something I take begrudgingly and really can't tolerate too much. I haven't the heart to tell these large strapping athletes that roam around campus in sweatpants and flip flops or ugg boots (once) to change the way they dress or take care of their face. They can say that clothes make a man, but you always remember the face. The way it grows, the way it creases as you get old. Anthony Quinn, Spencer Tracy, they all had such distinguished faces and in very few of their photos, they're hairy. Beards suddenly have become such a popular thing, I dont understand how it could have happened, but I actually am quite envious of those who can grow facial hair quickly. Maybe it's a blessing. I save a ton of cash on safety blades.

3. Intellect and Recptiveness
A man can spend hours, sometimes more time than some girls do working on their hair and on the outside can appear as something some girl would love to wrap her legs around, but when it comes time to talk and meet people at those cocktail parties and if the only thing that comes out is fart sounds and dirty jokes, there's nothing but shame in store. It's usually the job of the man to defend the honor, but that's rather difficult when he is dumb as a doorknob. I dont mean to say, you have to know about string theory or euclidian theory, but you should be able to carry on a conversation about sailing or politics or current events. Another quality that seems to be lost is the ability to listen and retain that sort of information. Many times, I have gone listing to a conversation and forgetting what was going on all of a sudden. But that only happens every so often, and I can listen and pick up from there.

4. Grace under Pressure
I am no exception. I have cracked under the pressure and as a cost consequence, my dignity has lain shattered before my feet several times. When an even turns dour, a Man responds calmly, cooly and with an intellect. To be able to decision make quickly and still retain your respect while doing so. So many of these young people you see, wearing gigantic tshirts with muscles rippling and hair gelled back. You offend these people with just one tiny thing, and they completely respond with an offense remark or even physical stupidity and violence. Example. I sat with my friend Ehren on the bus once. Some young black kids got into a fight with an old man just because he stepped on their shoes. I applauded the old man when he had to be restrained from knocking this kid in the head with a cane. The kid's only response is fuck you old man. Kids are too easily influenced and when their influence is this degenerate population, some future. There goes 40 years of hard work down the drain NAACP.

5. Respect and Culture for Things
Like with my previous criteria, kids dont know or learn to have this mutual and deep understanding for somethings. Art, music, dance, film, history, and so many more things. I try to converse with every I can, and learn from them. You woudln't believe the things I have learned and the things I wish I could have unlearned. You can take a group of inner city youths to the metropolatian museuem of art, and half of them will be texting, a third of them will be bored out of their minds, and a sixth will be genuinly interested. These people will grow up to be cultured, tolerant and curious and receptive to our changing world.

Qualities a Man should not Possess
1. Rude
You'll get farther along with honey than with vinegar. Especially when it comes to glazing a ham. The way you come out to other people generally give you the initial judgement. A group of black persons in their twenties was visiting at Bay Street in Emeryville. A young white couple with their child bumps into them. The following ensued:
"Yo fuck you man!"
"Watch your language plase!"
"Fuck yo child. Don't need to talk clean for no cracker kid"
*Walking away and to his wife* "Damn nigger kids"
I dont feel right using that last line, but that's the god to honest awful truth. Sometimes, the way one person for a stereotype responds and comes off as rude, there is only one way that comes out. They still wonder why the white man is opressing. It's because of a lack of tact.

2. Baggy Clothing
Clothing should fit closely and appear tailored yet be comfortable and reasonably priced. I've seen the football team come of the Cal bus on their way for saturday games and some of these guys that come off are quite well dressed, but the rest of them wear suit jackets that drape to the knees and pants that could fit two people and a god awful color coordination. Shop on a budget, yet shop well at the same time. H&M offers a really nice european cut in terms of clothing, but also at reasonably cheap prices. I tried mixing and matching a jacket and vest from there with a pair of dress pants from my dad. Did not work. The jacket was the slim european cut while the pants were too thick.

3. Lying
No one can tolerate that. Honest.

There are many more things I could possibly cover, but leave a comment and i'll add these in a further post.

June 05, 2009

29:7:35: The Joy of Self

Until this past year, when I turned the venerable age of twenty, I never took the pleasure and joy in working by yourself and for yourself.These past two weeks, I have been spending my mornings moving out and away from my old home in Berkeley and back into my childhood home in Alameda. While at the same time, I worked on an old bicycle frame turning it into a fixed gear bicycle with a road bicycle geometry. It was a nice project to build, but now that i'm done with it, what now?

In Alameda, you see more and more, amongst the younger generation, a staggering amount of those fixed gear bikes and I would bet every reader, that not one of those kids built their bikes with their own hands. Stores can offer these bikes real cheap such as the Bianchi Pista for a thousand dollars, or many department store brands are offering them as well. But I bet you, not one of those single kids with their baseball caps, tight jeans and flannel shirts, not one of them hand picked the 200 dollar rear wheel set from Peter Rich's store. The man who turned cycling into what it is today. None of them snuck off into the night, to find abandoned bicycle skeletons, to see what could be saved to build on a budget and what it turned out was quite decent. I bet not one of them knows how to adjust the handlebars, pick out a comfortable leather seat let alone know the benefits of Brooks.

I built my beauty on my own, and with the help of others for much more difficult components such as the bottom bracket and setting up the rear wheelset. I sanded the old nasty blue paint off, I primed and coated the frame myself and painted it colors I like. These kids, they'll just ride whatever mom and dad buys them. I hand chose my frame from a backyard of bicycles in Berkeley. One that had long dropouts. Unfortunately, it was taiwanese made, but the marquee was the same of my treasured English Raleigh touring bicycle.

I helped Martin move out, but one thing I saw scrawled and scratched into the cover of an old leather journal, and I still can recall is:

A man who works with his hands is a laborer
A man who works with his hands and brain is a craftsman
A man who works with his hands and brain and heart is an artist.

None of these kids work with their hands, brains or heart. Not anymore these days.